The Smarty Jones
OP Race 1 1m Dirt Stake
Purse $150.000 For
Three Year Olds
1st Babalu Time, trained by Night Rider Stables
Was able to establish good position from the start sitting 3 lengths off the pace which was being set by a trio of horses. Maintained his position down the backstretch with Performance Artist racing to his inside. Midway around the far turn he angled out slightly and started his move. Took over the lead with a furlong and a half to go and was barely able to hold off the late charging Badge.
2nd Badge, trained by D J C Racing Stables
Caught wide he found himself in 9th position as they exited the first turn. Continued to cede position down the backstretch and found himself last at the half mile marker. Entered the far turn 3 wide and was pushed wider as they moved around the turn. Started to pick off rivals as they existed the turn as he continued to move out wider to find room. Charged down the lane and just missed catching the winner, passing him on the first jump past the wire.
3rd Performance Artist, trained by Estero Farms
Used his post position to his advantage and saved ground around the first turn while sitting 3 lengths off the pace. Raced inside of the eventual winner while moving down the backstretch and continued to save ground on the far turn. Found a bit of traffic as the winner started his move and was unable to keep up. The rail did eventually open for him and was able to hold onto the show.
4th Dastardly Havoc, trained by Mb Stables
Raced 4 wide around the first turn just outside of the eventual winner. Dropped back a length or so on the backstretch but was still well within striking distance as they entered the far turn. Seemed to be poised to make a big run but was forced wide again and hung in the stretch to finish 4th.
In what looked to be a wide-open race the longest shot on the board was able to get home at 94-1. I am quite confident that the late jockey switch was the deciding factor and while the winner was impressive I am not convinced he is a Derby horse as I think a mile and a quarter will be too much for him. The runner up ran the most impressive race in my opinion and has certainly earned another shot at qualifying for the run to the roses. I have it on good authority that Performance Artist will look for a softer spot next out as his trainer tries to find out how good he really is. There were also some disappointing performances in here by Splash Mountain and Tallmadge and those trainers will have some tough decisions on where to race next.